UN agency cautions Nigerian refugees in Cameroon against sudden return
• Dangote Foundation largest donor to resettlement efforts, says Shettima
The United Nation High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR) has warned against the increasing return of refugees from Cameroon, insisting that the northeast was not yet safe.
The UN agency said it had a commitment with the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments to seek ways for voluntary, dignified, sustainable and safe return of the refugees and assured that steps were being taken to ensure that they return to safety and dignity.
The warning followed the sudden return of no fewer than 10,000 Nigerian refugees in less than two weeks after the signing of a tripartite agreement with the Nigerian and Cameroonian governments.
Consequently, the Nigerian government and UNHCR visited the Minawao refugee camp in northern Cameroon on a fact-finding mission.It however, gathered that some of the refugees were forced to return and denied asylum, but the Cameroonian authorities denied the claim and assured that refugees would not be forced to leave the camp or villages until conditions for their return were normalised.
A statement from the UNHCR disclosed that the agency and the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) have registered over 270,000 returnees from Cameroon and Niger Republic, adding that 7 per cent of the returnees claimed to have been forcibly returned to Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima has said that Dangote Foundation was the largest donor towards the rehabilitation efforts as it had given out N1 billion worth of building materials for the reconstruction of Bama, Gwoza and Damasak communities that were destroyed by Boko Haram insurgents.
The Governor disclosed this yesterday in Maiduguri, while distributing 2.6 million bags and cartons of wheat meal, semolina, rice, guinea corn, beans, spaghetti, noodles, tomato paste to 17,611 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) households at Government House.
He said the foundation has been consistent in its support towards overcoming the challenges in Borno and the North-East region of the country.Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Foundation, Zouera Youssoufou said Borno State was close to their hearts because of what has happened and the close relationship the foundation enjoyed with Shettima.